SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Tenfold challenged the early lead and battled hard down the stretch to win Saturday’s Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga. This was the third career win for the three-year-old son of Curlin but his first career stakes victory and first time in the winner’s circle since an allowance race in March.
As they broke from the gate, it was Flameaway and Tenfold who took on the early lead with the rest of the field content to sit back and watch the duel on the front end. By the time they hit the backstretch, the two leaders had an easy lead with the rest of the field strung out with multiple lengths between each horse. Flameaway and Tenfold together set fractions of :23.90, :47.16, and 1:11.18. Into the second turn, Reride looked to make a move but hardly gained any ground on the two leaders and quickly faded making it a two horse race by the top of the stretch. Tenfold moved into the middle of the track with jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. while Flameaway stayed on the rail and they battled it out. Eventually, it was Tenfold who got the best of Flameaway. Meanwhile, the 6-5 post time favorite, Vino Rosso, made a huge late run, however, his effort was in vain as he failed to pass either of the leaders and finished third just behind Flameaway with Reride in fourth.
“Today, I changed my plans,” said Santana. “He has a lot of speed and today I saw there isn’t a lot of speed in the race. The only speed is the number 1 horse [Flameaway] and I told Steve [Asmussen] that today, I want to change my plan and put him [Tenfold] over there in the race and it worked today. I put him over there close to the speed and turned for home [and] he opened up. I had plenty in the tank. He was watching the TV [infield monitor] and he got a little scared, but he passed the wire first. We got lucky and passed the wire first. Today he showed his class.”
“This is the type of horse we thought we’d have for the Belmont,” said trainer Steve Asmussen. “He was away cleanly today. He’s got a big rhythm. He’s a horse who is capable of being fast. That’s how he’s most effective.”
In his last three times out, Tenfold came up short against grade 1 company with his best result a third-place finish in the G1 Preakness. When asked about whether or not we might see Tenfold try grade 1 company again, Asmussen seemed to think he can handle the pressure and suggested that the G1 Travers is not out of the question. “That’s what we were trying to get to with this race here today,” said Asmussen when asked about the Travers. “I’m glad we ran him over this racetrack because he does find something new all the time.”
Tenfold returned $5.50 to win, $2.80 to place, and $2.30 to show. Flameaway brought back $3.90 to place and $2.70 to show, while Vino Rosso paid $2.10 to show.